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Stephen King: Tax Me, for F***** Sake!

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Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!

The iconic writer scolds the superrich (including himself—and Mitt Romney) for not giving back, and warns of a Kingsian apocalyptic scenario if inequality is not addressed in America.

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Chris Christie may be fat, but he ain’t Santa Claus. In fact, he seems unable to decide if he is New Jersey’s governor or its caporegime, and it may be a comment on the coarsening of American discourse that his brash rudeness is often taken for charm. In February, while discussing New Jersey’s newly amended income-tax law, which allows the rich to pay less (proportionally) than the middle class, Christie was asked about Warren Buffett’s observation that he paid less federal income taxes than his personal secretary, and that wasn’t fair. “He should just write a check and shut up,” Christie responded, with his typical verve. “I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check—go ahead and write it.”

Heard it all before. At a rally in Florida (to support collective bargaining and to express the socialist view that firing teachers with experience was sort of a bad idea), I pointed out that I was paying taxes of roughly 28 percent on my income. My question was, “How come I’m not paying 50?” The governor of New Jersey did not respond to this radical idea, possibly being too busy at the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet at Applebee’s in Jersey City, but plenty of other people of the Christie persuasion did.

Lobbyist Grover Norquist responds to King and begs to differ, 'for f@%&’s sake!'

Cut a check and shut up, they said.

If you want to pay more, pay more, they said.

Tired of hearing about it, they said.

Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “OK, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.

more-tax-teaser-new

And hey, why don’t we get real about this? Most rich folks paying 28 percent taxes do not give out another 28 percent of their income to charity. Most rich folks like to keep their dough. They don’t strip their bank accounts and investment portfolios. They keep them and then pass them on to their children, their children’s children. And what they do give away is—like the monies my wife and I donate—totally at their own discretion. That’s the rich-guy philosophy in a nutshell: don’t tell us how to use our money; we’ll tell you.

The Koch brothers are right-wing creepazoids, but they’re giving right-wing creepazoids. Here’s an example: 68 million fine American dollars to Deerfield Academy. Which is great for Deerfield Academy. But it won’t do squat for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where food fish are now showing up with black lesions. It won’t pay for stronger regulations to keep BP (or some other bunch of dipshit oil drillers) from doing it again. It won’t repair the levees surrounding New Orleans. It won’t improve education in Mississippi or Alabama. But what the hell—them li’l crackers ain’t never going to go to Deerfield Academy anyway. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

Here’s another crock of fresh bullshit delivered by the right wing of the Republican Party (which has become, so far as I can see, the only wing of the Republican Party): the richer rich people get, the more jobs they create. Really? I have a total payroll of about 60 people, most of them working for the two radio stations I own in Bangor, Maine. If I hit the movie jackpot—as I have, from time to time—and own a piece of a film that grosses $200 million, what am I going to do with it? Buy another radio station? I don’t think so, since I’m losing my shirt on the ones I own already. But suppose I did, and hired on an additional dozen folks. Good for them. Whoopee-ding for the rest of the economy.

Tired of hearing about it, they said. Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them?

At the risk of repeating myself, here’s what rich folks do when they get richer: they invest. A lot of those investments are overseas, thanks to the anti-American business policies of the last four administrations. Don’t think so? Check the tag on that T-shirt or gimme cap you’re wearing. If it says MADE IN AMERICA, I’ll … well, I won’t say I’ll eat your shorts, because some of that stuff is made here, but not much of it. And what does get made here doesn’t get made by America’s small cadre of pluted bloatocrats; it’s made, for the most part, in barely-gittin’-by factories in the Deep South, where the only unions people believe in are those solemnized at the altar of the local church (as long as they’re from different sexes, that is).

The U.S. senators and representatives who refuse even to consider raising taxes on the rich—they squall like scalded babies (usually on Fox News) every time the subject comes up—are not, by and large, superrich themselves, although many are millionaires and all have had the equivalent of Obamacare for years. They simply idolize the rich. Don’t ask me why; I don’t get it either, since most rich people are as boring as old, dead dog shit. The Mitch McConnells and John Boehners and Eric Cantors just can’t seem to help themselves. These guys and their right-wing supporters regard deep pockets like Christy Walton and Sheldon Adelson the way little girls regard Justin Bieber … which is to say, with wide eyes, slack jaws, and the drool of adoration dripping from their chins. I’ve gotten the same reaction myself, even though I’m only “baby rich” compared with some of these guys, who float serenely over the lives of the struggling middle class like blimps made of thousand-dollar bills.

In America, the rich are hallowed. Even Warren Buffett, who has largely been drummed out of the club for his radical ideas about putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to patriotism, made the front pages when he announced that he had stage-1 prostate cancer. Stage 1, for God’s sake! A hundred clinics can fix him up, and he can put the bill on his American Express black card! But the press made it sound like the pope’s balls had just dropped off and shattered! Because it was cancer? No! Because it was Warren Buffett, he of Berkshire-Hathaway!

I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.

This has to happen if America is to remain strong and true to its ideals. It’s a practical necessity and a moral imperative. Last year during the Occupy movement, the conservatives who oppose tax equality saw the first real ripples of discontent. Their response was either Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”) or Ebenezer Scrooge (“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”). Short-sighted, gentlemen. Very short-sighted. If this situation isn’t fairly addressed, last year’s protests will just be the beginning. Scrooge changed his tune after the ghosts visited him. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, lost her head.

Think about it.

I knew there was more to my liking Stephen King.  He is dead on.

Opinions?

by on May. 7, 2012 at 6:10 AM
Replies (21-30):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on May. 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM
Bravo, Stephen King!
Bravo, Warren Buffet!
Goodwoman614
by Satan on May. 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM
Quoting Goodwoman614:

Bravo, Stephen King!
Bravo, Warren Buffet!

Goodwoman614
by Satan on May. 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM
Quoting Goodwoman614:

Bravo, Stephen King!
Bravo, Warren Buffet!

NWP
by guerrilla girl on May. 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

Um..again, he covered WHY sending a check won't work in the article..And BTW, do you know anything about that accident? It was tragic and nearly fatal. It was awful all the way around. You sound so angry at him personally. Did he do something to you?

Quoting Aislinn:

 Stephen King is a greedy asshole, that sued a man for millions after an accident and ultimately the man committed suicide because of the court case and he is talking about greed? What a fucking joke. And, BTW, STEPHEN, nobody is stopping you from sending a big check to the government/IRS. Just because they tell you that you only owe so much does not mean you cannot pay more. As a Mainer, Stephen King can go screw.


stormcris
by Christy on May. 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM

They are not entitled to common tax breaks. However, they get their breaks in the itemized deductions and by their age. 

Each wealthy person is a business in their own right unless they have bumped their head. For instance with Stephen King: As an author you are a trade mark with your name. You bring in x amount of dollar but you also are a business, a sole proprietorship. You are treated in a limited similar manner to any other business in which you get these other deductions. You get to deduct all of these expenses off the gross before you even consider the amount of what can be taxed. 

Now let's go after the age disparity. Being old matters in the US by leaps and bounds. For instance should you are Stephen King and by some definition are filing single. Paying taxes at say the age of 28 and paying taxes at the age of 62 has a big gap. So for someone like Stephen King and like Buffet know that they are never going to be hit at a full tax rate. Then there are the deductions for charities which he admits to making. Those deductions come right off that as well. 

However, here as reported are where most of the tax money is lost at:

1. Tax-free health insurance contributions.The tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits is the single largest tax break -- it alone will cost the government $1 trillion in foregone taxes over the next five fiscal years. This huge tax expenditure massively subsidizes the nation's employer-based health insurance system. It also provides an incentive to employers to overspend in health benefits (which are tax free) and pay less in salary (from which, of course, the IRS takes a bite). This tax break only helps families with at least one member employed by an employer who offers them health benefits. Others have to buy health insurance with after-tax dollars.

2. The mortgage interest deduction. The second-largest tax break is essentially the nation's largest housing program. By letting taxpayers who itemize deduct the interest they pay on their home mortgages, the government massively subsidizes home ownership. The more expensive the home -- and the higher the homeowner's tax bracket -- the bigger that subsidy is.

3. Treatment of capital gains at death. When you die, the government forgives your capital gains tax on appreciated assets that you pass on to your heirs. In accounting terms, this is the "step up in basis" on death. From the heirs' perspective, it means that the "basis" going forward (the amount above which anything is considered taxable capital gains) is the value of the asset at the time they received it. So if you buy stock at $1,000 and it's worth $10,000 when you die, your heir gets $10,000 as the basis. No one ever pays taxes on the $9,000 in appreciation. Now imagine a multi-million-dollar stock portfolio and multi-million-dollar homes -- and you're talking real money.

4. Tax-free contributions to 401(k)s. Federal government policy encourages savings for retirement by allowing employees and employers to make tax-free contributions to retirement plans, the most common of which is the 401(k). This break is a big gift to the financial securities industry, which is where most of this money goes, and to the very wealthy. Indeed, the bulk of benefits go to high-income households, while little goes to the lower and moderate income households. There are limits to how much can be contributed tax-free, but the amount of tax foregone through contributions to 401(k) plans, along with employer plans, when combined still make tax-deferred retirement savings the second largest tax expenditure.

5. Exclusion of net imputed rental income. Homeowners don't pay themselves rent. If they didn't own their own homes, they would pay rent -- and whoever received that rent would have to declare it as income and pay taxes on it. But this "imputed rental income" goes untaxed -- another major subsidy to homeowners. The foregone rent is called "imputed rental income," and the White House Office of Management and Budget calculates the foregone tax that results from it at $50 billion a year.

6. Deductibility of state and local taxes. The rationale behind this deduction is that taxes paid to state or local governments reduce a taxpayer's ability to pay federal income tax. But state and local taxes essentially "pay" for services that, if purchased directly by the taxpayer, would not be deductible. The benefits of this deduction are disproportionately enjoyed by the wealthy, property owners, and residents of high-tax states. Because so many of those high-tax states are blue, this is one tax deduction that some conservative activists actually want dead.

7. Acclerated depreciation. The tax code allows businesses to deduct the costs of investing in such things as equipment faster than the objects in question actually wear out. Seth Hanlon writesfor the Center for American Progress: "Accelerated depreciation in general should be thought of as a multibillion-dollar federal spending program that subsidizes business investments. And when they single out specific industries for special benefit, depreciation rules are akin to spending 'earmarks.'"

8. Capital gains. Salaries, rents, royalties, interest -- they're all considered regular income by the IRS, and get taxed at marginal rates up to 35 percent. But income from the sale of capital assets held for more than a year is considered long-term capital gains, and gets taxed at a flat 15 percent rate. This is a huge windfall for the investor class -- and represents a quarter of a trillion dollars in lost revenue over 5 years.

9. Deductibility of charitable contributions. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions from their taxable income. This amounts to an approximately $43 billion a year subsidy to charitable organizations -- and because of progressive taxation, the deduction is more valuable to rich taxpayers than to poor ones. One scholar recently proposed doubling the deduction temporarily to stimulate job growth; but there is actually more talk about reducing or adjusting it instead.

10. Employer plans. This refers to employment-based retirement plans other than 401(K)s. See No. 4.

Quoting jewels5525:


Quoting stormcris:

They say raise the taxes on the rich but never say raise my tax liability.

They say they want to pay more so dish it out no one is stopping you.

He said it doesn't go far enough. Well its not going to go further by having a higher tax rate. It is funny how he contradicts himself. He talks of raising the taxes and then fixing charities, global warming and the like. That has nothing to do with raising the taxes. It has to do with government trying to play god. Our government has no means of balance. They do not know how to balance a budget, balance economic off sets, balance the current attitudes and fear, or balance the ecosystem. 

Bottom line until they start cutting checks to the government which is their right and there are many who do who do not owe it. It is just pretty words.

I have a better idea let's cut the deductions instead of raising the rates and see where they stand on that.


Thats what republicans want to do.  Lower the tax rate but cut the deductions, which of course only effects those who use the deductions such as teh middle class.  Most wealthy have already had most deductions phszed out so it doesn't effect them.  


Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
-Eilish-
by Gold Member on May. 7, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Nothing's keeping him from "donating" to the Dept of the Treasury.

-Eilish-
by Gold Member on May. 7, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Oh and what's his name from Facebook hardly counts - he's barely pre-pubscent and I doubt his frontal lobe is fully formed.

jewels5525
by Gold Member on May. 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Taxes is what i do for a living, believe me  i know they get more than their fair share.  Just pointing out that the deductions that they want to do away with will only effect the middle class.

Quoting stormcris:

They are not entitled to common tax breaks. However, they get their breaks in the itemized deductions and by their age. 

Each wealthy person is a business in their own right unless they have bumped their head. For instance with Stephen King: As an author you are a trade mark with your name. You bring in x amount of dollar but you also are a business, a sole proprietorship. You are treated in a limited similar manner to any other business in which you get these other deductions. You get to deduct all of these expenses off the gross before you even consider the amount of what can be taxed. 

Now let's go after the age disparity. Being old matters in the US by leaps and bounds. For instance should you are Stephen King and by some definition are filing single. Paying taxes at say the age of 28 and paying taxes at the age of 62 has a big gap. So for someone like Stephen King and like Buffet know that they are never going to be hit at a full tax rate. Then there are the deductions for charities which he admits to making. Those deductions come right off that as well. 

However, here as reported are where most of the tax money is lost at:


1. Tax-free health insurance contributions.The tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits is the single largest tax break -- it alone will cost the government $1 trillion in foregone taxes over the next five fiscal years. This huge tax expenditure massively subsidizes the nation's employer-based health insurance system. It also provides an incentive to employers to overspend in health benefits (which are tax free) and pay less in salary (from which, of course, the IRS takes a bite). This tax break only helps families with at least one member employed by an employer who offers them health benefits. Others have to buy health insurance with after-tax dollars.

2. The mortgage interest deduction. The second-largest tax break is essentially the nation's largest housing program. By letting taxpayers who itemize deduct the interest they pay on their home mortgages, the government massively subsidizes home ownership. The more expensive the home -- and the higher the homeowner's tax bracket -- the bigger that subsidy is.

3. Treatment of capital gains at death. When you die, the government forgives your capital gains tax on appreciated assets that you pass on to your heirs. In accounting terms, this is the "step up in basis" on death. From the heirs' perspective, it means that the "basis" going forward (the amount above which anything is considered taxable capital gains) is the value of the asset at the time they received it. So if you buy stock at $1,000 and it's worth $10,000 when you die, your heir gets $10,000 as the basis. No one ever pays taxes on the $9,000 in appreciation. Now imagine a multi-million-dollar stock portfolio and multi-million-dollar homes -- and you're talking real money.

4. Tax-free contributions to 401(k)s. Federal government policy encourages savings for retirement by allowing employees and employers to make tax-free contributions to retirement plans, the most common of which is the 401(k). This break is a big gift to the financial securities industry, which is where most of this money goes, and to the very wealthy. Indeed, the bulk of benefits go to high-income households, while little goes to the lower and moderate income households. There are limits to how much can be contributed tax-free, but the amount of tax foregone through contributions to 401(k) plans, along with employer plans, when combined still make tax-deferred retirement savings the second largest tax expenditure.

5. Exclusion of net imputed rental income. Homeowners don't pay themselves rent. If they didn't own their own homes, they would pay rent -- and whoever received that rent would have to declare it as income and pay taxes on it. But this "imputed rental income" goes untaxed -- another major subsidy to homeowners. The foregone rent is called "imputed rental income," and the White House Office of Management and Budget calculates the foregone tax that results from it at $50 billion a year.

6. Deductibility of state and local taxes. The rationale behind this deduction is that taxes paid to state or local governments reduce a taxpayer's ability to pay federal income tax. But state and local taxes essentially "pay" for services that, if purchased directly by the taxpayer, would not be deductible. The benefits of this deduction are disproportionately enjoyed by the wealthy, property owners, and residents of high-tax states. Because so many of those high-tax states are blue, this is one tax deduction that some conservative activists actually want dead.

7. Acclerated depreciation. The tax code allows businesses to deduct the costs of investing in such things as equipment faster than the objects in question actually wear out. Seth Hanlon writesfor the Center for American Progress: "Accelerated depreciation in general should be thought of as a multibillion-dollar federal spending program that subsidizes business investments. And when they single out specific industries for special benefit, depreciation rules are akin to spending 'earmarks.'"

8. Capital gains. Salaries, rents, royalties, interest -- they're all considered regular income by the IRS, and get taxed at marginal rates up to 35 percent. But income from the sale of capital assets held for more than a year is considered long-term capital gains, and gets taxed at a flat 15 percent rate. This is a huge windfall for the investor class -- and represents a quarter of a trillion dollars in lost revenue over 5 years.

9. Deductibility of charitable contributions. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions from their taxable income. This amounts to an approximately $43 billion a year subsidy to charitable organizations -- and because of progressive taxation, the deduction is more valuable to rich taxpayers than to poor ones. One scholar recently proposed doubling the deduction temporarily to stimulate job growth; but there is actually more talk about reducing or adjusting it instead.

10. Employer plans. This refers to employment-based retirement plans other than 401(K)s. See No. 4.

Quoting jewels5525:


Quoting stormcris:

They say raise the taxes on the rich but never say raise my tax liability.

They say they want to pay more so dish it out no one is stopping you.

He said it doesn't go far enough. Well its not going to go further by having a higher tax rate. It is funny how he contradicts himself. He talks of raising the taxes and then fixing charities, global warming and the like. That has nothing to do with raising the taxes. It has to do with government trying to play god. Our government has no means of balance. They do not know how to balance a budget, balance economic off sets, balance the current attitudes and fear, or balance the ecosystem. 

Bottom line until they start cutting checks to the government which is their right and there are many who do who do not owe it. It is just pretty words.

I have a better idea let's cut the deductions instead of raising the rates and see where they stand on that.


Thats what republicans want to do.  Lower the tax rate but cut the deductions, which of course only effects those who use the deductions such as teh middle class.  Most wealthy have already had most deductions phszed out so it doesn't effect them.  



stormcris
by Christy on May. 7, 2012 at 3:12 PM
1 mom liked this

Ohhhh completely misunderstood what you were saying. Sorry.


Quoting jewels5525:

Taxes is what i do for a living, believe me  i know they get more than their fair share.  Just pointing out that the deductions that they want to do away with will only effect the middle class.


Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
Louis D. Brandeis
yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on May. 7, 2012 at 4:04 PM

 

Quoting mom2the.rescue:

I'm probably really wrong, but if the IRS gets a big unexpected check, it would be dumped in a large account of some type.  But if they're taxing the rich in a different way, there'd be a plan in place for where all the extra money would go.  And a lot more money would come in than the little extra bits the rich people with consciences give.  Some people make insane amounts of money, and they should be paying much more in taxes. 

Yes, we'll always be in debt.  But isn't it better to chip away at that than keep growing it, while letting certain people get away with not paying their fair share?

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 What is preventing him from paying more?  The IRS will be more than happy to accept it.

Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows we could take every asset of every American and still be trillions short on what our obligations are as of TODAY.

 

 So what percentage of your income do you give every year?  Did you get a tax refund...how much did you actually pay?  Do you get EIC?  Maybe you should be giving more.  Maybe you should be paying more or collecting less.  Oh wait, this isn't really any of my business is it?  Just like it isn't any of YOUR business how much someone else gives or pays.

Making a few ultra rich people pay a little more isn't even going to solve the DEFICIT issue for the current year....let alone put a little toward the debt...which collectively is actually more than 130 trillion dollars.  We could actually take everything the rich people owned..put them out on the street and it would be like throwing a bucket of piss on a forest fire.

If you are interested in just how bad it actually is from a non-biased source go here...  http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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